Best Good/Weird GenCon Moment
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Posted by frinn

So, in the long long ago (2004), at my first Gen con, I hadn’t scheduled any events because I didn’t understand that you should do so.  I was wandering around pretty aimlessly when I found an elaborate sign that advertised for a Call of Cthulhu game.  Much like now, all the COC games in the catalog were sold out, but this one was an unofficial* game.  So I gathered my friends and showed up at the time the sign suggested.
 
This GM shows up almost out of nowhere at the appointed time, with a box full of props and characters. As he is passing out the character sheets, a group of three people come over to ask if this was a specific event.  It turns out that their COC GM was a no show and this pickup GM tells them to pull up chairs.  So here we are, at a random table with 9 players playing in my first COC game.  This GM, who’s name is lost to history, goes on to run a clinic on how to run large con games.   He gets everyone involved, controls the game, but allows for us to make our choices.  He constantly makes the witty side comments which are still sometimes used in my group of friends over a decade later.  Two Examples:  “I’ll let you roleplay that with yourself, later.”  and after a gencon staffer comes over to figure out why an unbooked game was running, “See, that was a successful fast talk”.
 
As time has passed and memories fade, I wonder if he really existed.  I have never seen him again.  Though it was not my most amazing COC experience it is up there.   

*Disclaimer: Running Unofficial games is bad, and you should register all games with GenCon.   
 

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Posted by father bloodlust

I guess I can put this here because 1) It was unexpected and 2) I haven't seen this event at all since.

Back in 2013, I was wandering around (can't remember why) and saw that in one of the video game rooms (the one with Dance Central, DDR and other such games) somebody had a big projection screen with Rock Band playing on it. Intrigued, I walked in and found an incredible setup - not only was there a projection screen, but the guy running it had a queue going on his laptop for each instrument so you could sign up ahead of time, a binder with all the available tracks so you could see what was available, and a bunch of tracks that I suspect were "unofficially" Rock Band-ized (the newest track I heard was "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore, which I know came out after Harmonix quit updating Rock Band in 2013).

Long story short, I bought some generics, paid my way in, and got to sing "Holiday" by Green Day and "The Metal" by Tenacious D. Such an unexpectedly fun time :)

Every year since, I've looked for that setup and I haven't seen it. I hope it comes back one day.

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Posted by brotherbock frinn

frinn wrote:
So, in the long long ago (2004), at my first Gen con, I hadn’t scheduled any events because I didn’t understand that you should do so.  I was wandering around pretty aimlessly when I found an elaborate sign that advertised for a Call of Cthulhu game.  Much like now, all the COC games in the catalog were sold out, but this one was an unofficial* game.  So I gathered my friends and showed up at the time the sign suggested.
 
This GM shows up almost out of nowhere at the appointed time, with a box full of props and characters. As he is passing out the character sheets, a group of three people come over to ask if this was a specific event.  It turns out that their COC GM was a no show and this pickup GM tells them to pull up chairs.  So here we are, at a random table with 9 players playing in my first COC game.  This GM, who’s name is lost to history, goes on to run a clinic on how to run large con games.   He gets everyone involved, controls the game, but allows for us to make our choices.  He constantly makes the witty side comments which are still sometimes used in my group of friends over a decade later.  Two Examples:  “I’ll let you roleplay that with yourself, later.”  and after a gencon staffer comes over to figure out why an unbooked game was running, “See, that was a successful fast talk”.
 
As time has passed and memories fade, I wonder if he really existed.  I have never seen him again.  Though it was not my most amazing COC experience it is up there.   
*Disclaimer: Running Unofficial games is bad, and you should register all games with GenCon.   
 

There is nothing wrong whatsoever with running games that aren't official events. As long as you don't take money for them, and if you're in an official gaming area, let the staff know so they can give you a table and know that it's taken. 

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Posted by nikki rbree

rbree wrote:
Finding my sons picture in the program book. We played Terroworks one year and were characters who were competing over who had the highest body count.  (We still argue about who got it)  The next year we ere flipping through program book and found his picture in the write  up on Terrorworks.  We went to te booth asked them about it... and they e-mailed us a copy of it.  Great gaming experience and a nice picture to remind us of it.    
I miss Terrowerks.   I wish somebody would bring it back. 
  
I and all my friends miss Terrorworks. So. Much!  I really wish they would bring it back.  I used to go to Origins just to play it.  (Well, that and the Smithee Awards.)

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Posted by jhs

A few years back my wife joined me and we stayed at the embassy suites, which has elevators that let you see the lobby when inside.  We are a pretty average looking pair, I guess, with minimal general gaming freakiness, though we were wearing our badges.  A non-gencon couple with a young son came in the elevator with us, he looked at the lobby and said with volume only a kid can muster "Mom!!!  Look at all those weird people!!!"  His mom snuck a peak at our badges and desperately tried to shush him.  We tried not to laugh.  At that moment the elevator door opened and a very gencon guy entered, black clothes, black wide brimmed hat, black duster in middle of summer, long hair, massive beard, old briefcase with games sticking out and the kid yelled "Mom!!! Mom!!!" and the mom shushed with all she had.  My wife and I broke down.

Brief addendum: we stood behind the man in black at the line for breakfast.  He took a large plate and completely filled it with a huge stack of bacon, nothing else.  I was tempted to point and say "Mom!!! Mom!!!" but my wife would have killed me.

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Posted by ploveking father bloodlust

father bloodlust wrote:
... which I know came out after Harmonix quit updating Rock Band in 2013

  They released another one in 2015. Some people still like the plastic instrument games, but if you like music games, Rocksmith is played with real guitar (or bass), and releases new DLC every week (on Tuesday). I can't recommend it highly enough.

  One of my good Gencon memories was a game of Buffy RPG. We all really got into character, and had the tone of voice going and were just rolling with the role play. At one point a bystander asked the GM something,  and her response was essentially "I don't need to say anything, they are doing fine without me". We had hijacked the game with roleplay, and I don't think I've ever had a game like it. We did actually complete the scenario, but there were long intervals of nothing but player to player dialog.

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Posted by roundtop

Killer Breakfast 2010.  I made it on stage somewhat near the beginning and was given a wizard. The art looked like something from Up in Smoke, so when a pair of ghosts walked into the bar, when asked for my reaction "Hey dudes." (doing my best California hippie imitation).

Caused everyone to pause with laughter for a few seconds. Not often you can derail an event like that for a few seconds.

 

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Posted by father bloodlust ploveking

ploveking wrote:
father bloodlust wrote:
... which I know came out after Harmonix quit updating Rock Band in 2013

  They released another one in 2015. Some people still like the plastic instrument games, but if you like music games, Rocksmith is played with real guitar (or bass), and releases new DLC every week (on Tuesday). I can't recommend it highly enough.

Yeah, they released another one recently, but this was long before they even hinted at it, let alone announced it.

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Posted by trace_sl

My worst was dealing with a DM, (1e) he ruled that the light spell was a ball of magical light that penetrated objects, meaning as the party walked down dark halls, our light went through walls and doors warning every creature we were coming.  

The weird, driving up in 85, the dark days of the interstate, I mean you would get into areas where it was easily the boonies, no traffic, no gas stations for miles, no lights from other cars or houses.  We were listening to the radio and they were talking about a bright light streaking across the sky...then there it was and then gone.  Made for a lot of conversation for a few hours.   

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Posted by marimaccadmin suburbaknght

suburbaknght wrote:
In 2007 I met a wonderful woman in a belly dance class.  This March I married her.

I didn't know you guys met AT Gen Con!

Marian McBrine
Event Coordinator
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by glory bobvilla

bobvilla wrote:
brotherbock wrote:

brotherbock wrote:
bobvilla wrote:
When they introduced the Elminister mini at Gencon as a super rare promo and everyone was bugging Ed Greenwood to autograph one. I don't collect autographs and wouldn't bother someone just randomly walking about for an autograph if I did and I managed to snag one and was walking through the dealer hall bragging to my friend not exactly paying attention to where I was going and literally bumped into Mr. Greenwood while holding the mini in its packaging. I was apologizing and didn't even realize who I had bumped into, I guess he thought I wanted him to sign it and he was just about out of patients with people getting him to sign the card then immediately putting it up on ebay. He grabbed it out of my hand ripped open the packaging and signed the card all before I could say anything and walked away not rude or anything just in a rush. My first and only autograph and I got it completely by accident, wasn't even aware of who he was till he was walking away.

I do that to people at Gencon--just grab their stuff, sign it in a huff, and then walk away. It makes a lot of good memories for people ;) 

Sigh, I just don't express myself well on the internet which is why I rarely post on forums. At the time of this happening I know for a fact various peoples were scamming minis getting Mr.Greenwood to sign them (without opening the package making it more valuable) then immediately,as during the con itself, putting them up on ebay and scoring 50-100 dollars apiece. I figured he had heard as well and was exasperated by this hence the tearing open of the package to grant the autograph. As for me I was offered around 70 bucks(the going price for a large gold dragon at the time) for mine and I still have it in a nice solid card protector on a shelf with all my repaints and mini trophies. Like I said I don't collect autographs but I still have my first and only one if only for the story.

Was this the CE version of the Elminster mini? I have that and the card - though the package has been opened. I'm not sure I got it signed. I'll have to look. 

BUT - I did meet Ed Greenwood that year and he got down on one knee and proposed to me. So... yeah, that's definitely one of my best GenCon memories. :)

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Posted by njseahawksfan

Two years ago, a group of friends and I were walking down one of the main corridors of the ICC, when one of my friends just randomly, out of blue begins to start singing "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger.  We join in and then ... random people just join in the chorus.  There must have been 20 extra people we didn't know walking with us singing "MOTORIN!!!".   We all laughed and shook hands and went our merry ways.

That kinda sums up the spirit of the Con to me.

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Posted by vickers1

At my first Gen Con I experienced my first Are you a Werewolf game.  It was an adjustment getting used to the baseless accusations and reconciling the fact that many would be lynched in the name of fear. I had a great time.  My friend accused me of being a deity which then convinced the children that some how I knew what I was doing.  The last round of Werewolf included myself and 7 children.  It was surreal and also I felt like I was at work.  Gaming imitates life! 

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Posted by brotherbock njseahawksfan

njseahawksfan wrote:
Two years ago, a group of friends and I were walking down one of the main corridors of the ICC, when one of my friends just randomly, out of blue begins to start singing "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger.  We join in and then ... random people just join in the chorus.  There must have been 20 extra people we didn't know walking with us singing "MOTORIN!!!".   We all laughed and shook hands and went our merry ways.
That kinda sums up the spirit of the Con to me.

LOL! Awesome. 

Motorin! Watch the Price Is Right!

(I may or may not know the actual lyrics) 

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Posted by father bloodlust

Something I semi-witnessed last year as I was walking the ICC halls. I only saw the part after the shocked exclamation, but here's what I gather happened:

There was a guy walking around just like everyone else, a fairly pudgy guy with a big white beard. Another guy in a full Deadpool costume (including the mask) was walking by at that time. The guy in the Deadpool costume screams "SANTA!!!" runs up to the guy and hugs him.

Makes me laugh every time I think about it, just because it's perfectly in-character for Deadpool.

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Posted by rutherfordr

This was in the late '90s, when GenCon was in the Midwest Express Center in Milwaukee.

(Side note: The Midwest Express Center was the nicest, most attractive convention center that GenCon has ever had. It was such a breath of fresh air after the blocky, Neo-Brutalist architecture of the MECCA convention center.)

That year in the MEC, the exhibit hall was on the second floor of the convention center, and every morning a large crowd gathered in the first floor lobby, waiting for 10:00am to arrive.

Unfortunately, the escalators to the second floor had been working so hard throughout the convention that they were out of service by Saturday morning (the MEC really did have a hard time accommodating the size of GenCon), and so everyone had to climb the escalator stairs to get to the second floor.

That particular Saturday morning, there were a couple of young ladies who had been hired as models for one of the booths in the exhibit hall who walked into the MEC around 9:30am, and climbed the up escalator stairs to get to work on time, dressed in very short shorts.

With hundreds of men watching from the first floor lobby.

When they reached the top, the crowd broke out in a spontaneous round of polite applause. (This is GenCon, after all. I hesitate to think what would have happened at DragonCon.)

The ladies turned around, smiled and waved at the crowd, and went into the exhibit hall.
 

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Posted by ironsphinx

My worst Gen Con moment ended up turning into one of my best.

A few Gen Con's back, I was there for the day with two of my friends. We were walking around, waiting for the dealer room to open, when I got on the escalator. Well I stumbled while wearing open-toed sandals and tore the toenail on my big toe right off the nail bed. I'm standing there in a daze with blood all over my foot and when it dawns on me what just happened my social anxiety goes off the charts. After a quick triage in the bathroom with some paper towels, I limp down to the Paramedics station. The Paramedics were pretty cool. They bandaged me up, gave me some ibuprofen and said that they could either take me to the hospital or I could go home and see my own doctor, but either way, all anyone could do for me is give me a tetanus shot while I waited for the toenail to grow back. Not wanting to ruin the con experience for my friends (any more than I already had) and since we came to Indy in my car, I declined the ambulance trip and said I'd see my doctor when I got back to Michigan.

So, an hour later, I'm limping around the dealer room, the ibuprofen is only dulling the pain slightly, and I'm standing at a booth getting more and more depressed. The moment the thought 'why do things like this always happen to me' crossed my mind, I turned to my right and found myself face to face with a guy in a wheelchair with no legs from the knees down. For the rest of that day, the four hour drive back home, and the better part of a year that it took for that toenail to grow back, that little accident with the escalator didn't bother me one bit. Seeing that young man tooling around in his wheelchair while all I needed was a bandage and a tetanus shot was one of the greatest life lessons I've ever experienced.

Perspective on life is perhaps the greatest thing I've ever got at the Gen Con dealer room. :)

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Posted by brotherbock ironsphinx

ironsphinx wrote:
My worst Gen Con moment ended up turning into one of my best.
A few Gen Con's back, I was there for the day with two of my friends. We were walking around, waiting for the dealer room to open, when I got on the escalator. Well I stumbled while wearing open-toed sandals and tore the toenail on my big toe right off the nail bed. I'm standing there in a daze with blood all over my foot and when it dawns on me what just happened my social anxiety goes off the charts. After a quick triage in the bathroom with some paper towels, I limp down to the Paramedics station. The Paramedics were pretty cool. They bandaged me up, gave me some ibuprofen and said that they could either take me to the hospital or I could go home and see my own doctor, but either way, all anyone could do for me is give me a tetanus shot while I waited for the toenail to grow back. Not wanting to ruin the con experience for my friends (any more than I already had) and since we came to Indy in my car, I declined the ambulance trip and said I'd see my doctor when I got back to Michigan.
So, an hour later, I'm limping around the dealer room, the ibuprofen is only dulling the pain slightly, and I'm standing at a booth getting more and more depressed. The moment the thought 'why do things like this always happen to me' crossed my mind, I turned to my right and found myself face to face with a guy in a wheelchair with no legs from the knees down. For the rest of that day, the four hour drive back home, and the better part of a year that it took for that toenail to grow back, that little accident with the escalator didn't bother me one bit. Seeing that young man tooling around in his wheelchair while all I needed was a bandage and a tetanus shot was one of the greatest life lessons I've ever experienced.
Perspective on life is perhaps the greatest thing I've ever got at the Gen Con dealer room. :)

My new thing, when something is starting to irritate me, is to say on purpose "my life is the worst!" I do that because I've worked with and known a lot of people who would kill for the life and advantages I have. So saying that makes me laugh and calm down :) 

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Posted by gamerlaura ironsphinx

ironsphinx wrote:
My worst Gen Con moment ended up turning into one of my best.
A few Gen Con's back, I was there for the day with two of my friends. We were walking around, waiting for the dealer room to open, when I got on the escalator. Well I stumbled while wearing open-toed sandals and tore the toenail on my big toe right off the nail bed. I'm standing there in a daze with blood all over my foot and when it dawns on me what just happened my social anxiety goes off the charts. After a quick triage in the bathroom with some paper towels, I limp down to the Paramedics station. The Paramedics were pretty cool. They bandaged me up, gave me some ibuprofen and said that they could either take me to the hospital or I could go home and see my own doctor, but either way, all anyone could do for me is give me a tetanus shot while I waited for the toenail to grow back. Not wanting to ruin the con experience for my friends (any more than I already had) and since we came to Indy in my car, I declined the ambulance trip and said I'd see my doctor when I got back to Michigan.
So, an hour later, I'm limping around the dealer room, the ibuprofen is only dulling the pain slightly, and I'm standing at a booth getting more and more depressed. The moment the thought 'why do things like this always happen to me' crossed my mind, I turned to my right and found myself face to face with a guy in a wheelchair with no legs from the knees down. For the rest of that day, the four hour drive back home, and the better part of a year that it took for that toenail to grow back, that little accident with the escalator didn't bother me one bit. Seeing that young man tooling around in his wheelchair while all I needed was a bandage and a tetanus shot was one of the greatest life lessons I've ever experienced.
Perspective on life is perhaps the greatest thing I've ever got at the Gen Con dealer room. :)

I've been watching this thread for awhile, trying to think of something that I could contribute.  Reading this made me think of my own story.  It's more of an Indy story than a Gen Con story.

My husband and I have missed only one Gen Con since our first, in 2005.  That was 2006, the year I started law school.  2009, the year I graduated and took the Bar, was supposed to be epic.  I had signed up for a bunch of events I was super excited about, including getting a Puffing Billy ribbon, and I was planning to spend a good portion of the weekend playing Ticket to Ride.  Alas, it was not to be.  The day before we were supposed to leave for Gen Con, I threw my back out.  At that point in my life, this was something that happened to me every year or two, and usually laid me up for a couple of days (apparently it was due to deconditioning in my case, because I started taking better care of myself, and I haven't had a similar episode in years).  So I certainly wasn't going to let a little pain keep me from my vacation.  I decided to go and hope the pain would resolve with relaxation.  Well, apparently the car ride (about four hours from Michigan) aggravated my back, because by the time we got to the hotel, I was in so much pain I couldn't even help unload the car.  I wound up only going to the convention for two of the days, and the days I was there, I was at times almost crawling from the board game hall to the restroom.  I played some games of Ticket to Ride, but I would lie on my back in a corner of the hall in between rounds.  On one of the days I made it in, my husband and I were headed to one of the restaurants within a couple blocks for dinner.  As I was hobbling along, excruciatingly slowly, one of the homeless men on the corner called out, "That's it, sweetie!  You just take all the time you need.  It'll still be there."  My husband and I laugh about it now, but at the time, that little bit of encouragement, from a VERY unexpected place, really meant something to me.

The pain resolved a day or so after we got back.  I know I'm one of the lucky ones, not to be dealing with chronic pain.  But that year definitely sticks with me as one of my more surreal Gen Con experiences.

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Posted by papalorax

Free Dominion tournament two years ago.

Waiting for the second round to start - one game is still going one while the others were done. Woman at my round 2 table starts complaining that while she "likes that people bring kids to GenCon, a tournament probably isn't the best way to learn a game". One of the players in the game still going on was clearly a child.

That game finally finished.

The child was walking toward me to find his next game..I asked "how did it go...long game?"

"Dad I won...there were two cards that gave curses so the game took forever. How did you do?"

She didn't say much after that.

FYI - he was 12.

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